The hard work and dedication to both her job and her respect for others as well as herself have all been factors in why I have chosen my research topic as the analysis of the treatment of women in the workplace. No, my mother is not a sob story for the America workforce. I included her stories because it shows that workplace harassment, mistreatment, and discrimination affect anyone and everyone. You just need to ask
Babinec 3 around. I also chose to write this research proposal on this topic because I am genuinely interested in it. Between my mother’s experiences, in working a steady job since I was 15, in reading literature both for classes and for pleasure, in seeing where my interests lie as I grow and learn in a university setting, I thought that this would be perfect for me. Within the Review of Literature, I have included articles that give insight into the cognitive factors regarding why people mistreat others in general, relate that information back to its place in the working world, and provide well-known instances in which discrimination has been an issue. All of these things are important because this is a problem that affects extreme amounts of people around the world, specifically in the United States where women have fundamentally the same employment opportunities as men. The only thing is that that isn’t necessarily the case, and this research proposal exemplifies that. Review of Literature My mother is not alone in what she had to deal with in her field of work. There are many instances of discrimination and harassment towards women in the legal field, as studied by Whitney Woodington, a psychology professor at University of Texas at Austin. Woodington claims that the discriminatory attitude that people tend to have towards females in the legal field can be explained by the gender schema theory. The gender schema theory is “a cognitive theory to explain how individuals become gendered in society, and how sex-linked characteristics are maintained and transmitted to other members of a culture” (Bem 354). A schema is a common representation that our minds look to as a model or outline for something. What Bem is explaining, in simpler terms, is
4 why we view each gender through certain lenses in a biased or stereotype-influenced way, and how do these viewpoints trickle down into society, becoming mainstream? Woodington’s study focuses on this idea and how it pertains to the field of law. The title of her article is, “The Cognitive Foundations of Formal Equality: Incorporating Gender Schema Theory to Eliminate Sex Discrimination Towards Women in the Legal Profession”. It was featured in Law & Psychology Review in 2010, which is a publication that consolidates many different articles that were published throughout that year into one place. Within this article is a lot of valuable information that applies to more than just the field of law. It looks into the cognitive functions behind stereotypes, which rule how all people—not just women—are perceived.
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